Tales from the Rody
What happens when elephants learn they can’t fly.

Survival Jobs: It’s not about you.

survival-425I see in the The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News  the very popular topic of Survival Jobs – those jobs the displaced masses are taking during these tough times. The articles generally talk of displaced execs who once made big six-figure incomes and now cut fish heads or clean bus station toilets. They generally talk of  how the individual never imagined leaving thier once secure position let alone take a survival job.

The stories often detail how the subjects blew though personal savings while attending  job fairs dedicated to thier profession. How they wait for hours in line and pay $20 to enter a job fair only to talk for 10 minutes to someone who offers little encouragement. They take your resume and file it along with the 300 resumes from that day’s  job fair the job fair as well as  the next day’s and the next. Positions are not being filled even if there is an interview.  At least the interviewers have jobs.

The stories usually go on  and talk about the eventual depression that sets in and the coping skills people develop or need to. The best stories are those in which the subects survival job is vastly different than the job they lost – a popular format for these stories which usually end up with some conclusions telling the story that the subject is happy and or lucky to be working at all.   I’ve seen a bunch of these news stories and they vary little from one another.

Little is said for those of us who were unemployable (age, attitude or lack of skills)  before we got in this mess. For those of us in that position, chances are we owned our own businesses – some make it – some don’t.

In my case, I’m still functional minus almost 60% of my customers, most of which were in the financial and real estate compliance markets. Most of my customers are now unemployed and attending  jobs fairs and or re-inventing themselves.

I really should have seen this coming when I was making training materials for mortage brokers teaching how to get undocumented workers into thier own homes. Using the old ‘stated income’ trick, it’s amazing how many non-americans sought the american dream and got thier own home with No money down or without a social sercurity card or number. I digress.

A survival job is just that. One that brings in money. Ideally, a great survival job is one that allows you to set your own hours (so you may continue looking for opportunities) daily pay and CASH flow.

Taxi driving is a great example – one can work as much as they like and the requirements are quite easy. In Dallas, just have a clean police record for 2 years and you’re in. The test is simple and the only obsticle is the wait you’ll have before the next class is available. Generally it’s about 6 weeks from the date of your application, so plan ahead and get the application in early.

I’ve considered other survival jobs – this one seems to suit me best right now. I have thought of  (for a nano second) other driving positions – school bus driver, courrier, shuttle driver – just not the right fit. Out of the box, I’ve considered telelphone solicitor, telephone collection agent,  long haul driver and even dealer in a casino. The later seems like fun but there must be a reason those people are usually grumpy and those positions don’t offer the flexability of hours and ‘quick start’ ability.

One thing to know before you venture out and get a survival job:  it’s not about you. As nice as your new employer may be, they don’t care. I mean to say there are dozens of people who may want that job you’re applying for so if you’re thinking of showing them how smart you are, save your breath – they don’t care. Clearly they know that if you’re applying for a job at Barnes and Nobel and your application has one position listed that you’ve had for 10 years, it tells a story.

All this being said, don’t forget the younger folks looking for work – summer jobs, jobs to put them though school or a first job – those types are looking too and frankly deserve a break. Consider that the new, young employee might be a better choice for some jobs as they are fresh and carry no experience baggage with them – they won’t spend all day talking about how they were the VP of some multi-national company and are victim of the ressession. Again, it not about you. Its’ surviving and these days, surviving is winning. Have YOU considered a survival job?  Which jobs have YOU considered? Comments, please.

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One Response to “Survival Jobs: It’s not about you.”

  1. One’s survival is determined by a person’s ability to be willing to reinvent themselves. To look outside their paradigm and understand not what “was” or what “could be..if only” but simply “what is”. A strong person will do what they need to do to survive regardless of all the woulda, coulda, shoulda. It takes a strong person to look at what’s good in their lives and what they can do and then do it. So many people today are waiting for that perfect executive job or the job they had before getting back in the game. Those days are over. It’s about looking within and doing what it takes. Seems to me you’re doing that. I smell a book deal.


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